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(Almost) everyone can speak English: With these foreign languages ​​you can make a career

Gone are the days when knowledge of English was only required for translators. Fluent English has long been required in most job advertisements , be it for IT jobs that work with English-language software, in teams with different nationalities or because the company is even changing the company language completely to English. Nevertheless: Only with knowledge of English you can no longer get a job – with a second language , on the other hand, you can leave a few other applicants behind. But which one is suitable?

The job exchange Joblift has searched 15 million advertisements from companies within two years for the required foreign language skills. A ranking of the ten most important came out. English is of course the undisputed number 1 there as well and appears in around a quarter of all searches – across all industries. Demand is eight times as high as for all of the other top ten languages ​​combined. Hardly any language will become just as important as English in the near future: While the demand for other languages ​​rose by around two percent within a year, it was 17 percent for English.

But who takes second place? In the Joblift study, this clearly falls into French , followed by Spanish , Dutch , Italian and Russian , Polish, Mandarin, Arabic, Danish and Japanese. France, the Netherlands, China, Italy and Poland are important trading partners for Germany, which also explains the frequent demand for these languages. Spanish, Russian and Arabic, on the other hand, are needed again and again because of the sheer mass of native speakers: they are spoken by around 280 to 390 million people worldwide as a first or second language.

But the study also analyzed which languages ​​are required for which jobs: “First and foremost, commercial employees need French, Italian and Polish. Dutch, on the other hand, is most frequently part of the requirements in job advertisements for consultants, while Chinese is asked of sales employees. ”Danish is in demand in sales, and Spanish and Russian in commercial professions. Knowledge of Arabic is primarily required by social workers, and software engineer is the profession with the most Japanese language skills mentioned in the requirement profile.

Foreign languages ​​are becoming increasingly popular as further training courses

In the future, applicants should not rely on their English skills alone . But do they do something about it? Germany’s largest distance learning school ILS is definitely recording steadily growing numbers in its language courses – especially in business language courses that are needed professionally. “Every year we have four-digit numbers of participants in the foreign language courses at the ILS . Around 80 percent of them take our business courses, “says ILS spokeswoman Dörte Giebel . These are offered in English, but also in Spanish and French. The demand for foreign languages ​​roughly coincides with the ranking list, the job lift: “With Spanish and French we experience that the popularity alternates every year, in 2017 Spanish was ahead, in 2018 French. It’s been stable at a high level for many years, ”says Giebel. The languages ​​that rank a little further down are not asked so often here either: “Neither Italian nor Russian has interest increased so much that we offer business courses”. But here, too, English will not hold a candle to any other language: At the ILS, Spanish and French together are as popular as English.

Those who have not made provisions themselves are lucky if they have an employer who can prepare them for the next application – or a career in-house. More and more companies are interested in language training for their employees . The new offer from the Berlin language course provider Babbel especially for companies has already been well received by several hundred customers: “These currently include the Technische Hilfswerk, Runners Point, Flixbus and Uber . In addition, Babbel is used in several banks, catering companies and by service providers in various industries, “says Susanne Wechsler , Director B2B at Babbel . English is of course in great demand there too: “Companies react to the fact that their employees, their clientele and their areas of activity are becoming more and more international. It happens that the corporate language has to be changed completely to English, for example because international colleagues join the team or because investors are to be reported in English. ”

But also according to the job lift Currently the second most popular language, French, is in great demand, regardless of the sector. Here, physical proximity is often a criterion: French is increasingly in demand in companies close to the border, or in companies that have direct connections through a French parent company or investments. According to Babbel , the focus is often different than when learning English: “The aim is not to handle complex business processes in French. Rather, it is about French-language documents or e-mails being able to be thematically assigned , ”explains Susanne Wechsler.

Text: Maria Zeitler


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